TTM Plus (TTM+) Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) stays popular since 2001, but it seems to getting smaller from year to year, concerning the participation of the GMS countries of Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi), Myanmar, Laos, and Viet Nam. TTM+ 2018 just had 12 double table-top places reserved for sellers of the GMS countries out of 168 ones, mainly occupied by sellers from Thailand.

Actually, only the GMS countries of Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam were represented and only three countries, namely Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos had tables taken by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia (four tables), Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Lao PDR (one table), and Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar (one table).

Only Cambodia showed the usual strength of highlighting tourism products of the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially their historical and cultural heritage sites such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Preah Vihear Temple and the ancient city of Sambor Prei Kuk among others. Also a handy map of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville was available. The Cambodian delegation was led by H.E. Secretary of State So Mara and Mr. Prak Vuthy, Deputy Director of the Department of Overseas Tourism Marketing & Promotion. It was up to Chairman and CEO Mr. Om Pharin of Charming Cambodia Tours to promote the upcoming Cambodia Travel Mart (CTM 2018) to be held at Diamond Island Convention & Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh during October 11-13, when some 250 sellers, 250 buyers and 50 media will participate. For more information, please go to:

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Lao PDR was represented by Deputy Director-General of the Tourism Marketing Department Ms Sengsoda Vanthanouvong, who highlighted nature and trekking opportunities in 20 national protected areas found in the northern, central and southern regions of Laos. She also helped to promote the Sanctuary Mekong Elephant Park in Sayabouri Province, which was designed as a pilot project for conservation and eco-tourism. For more information, please go to:

Finally, there were representatives of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, handing out the official Tourism Statistics 2017 to show that just 2,080,185 visitor arrivals had come through the main entry points in the country. Information was also given about emerging community based tourism projects in Myanmar, especially in far away places such as Chin State, Kachin State, Kayah and Kayin State among others. New destinations to open up to tourists are unknown regions in Magway and Sagaing, while the normal circuit destinations of Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle stay popular.

Furthermore, the Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel in Yangon or the Sule Shangri-La Yangon is one of the best ways to let your journey in Myanmar begin. For reservations, please go to: or

Reasons why the participation and interest of GMS countries at TTM+ is diminishing are the fact that more and more countries have now their own B2B travel mart just like China, Viet Nam, and Cambodia. In the near future, Myanmar and Laos will follow so that TTM+ will be obsolete and a local mart of each country will be the order.

Finally, it should be noted that there is the annual Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF), where all six GMS countries will participate, sometimes with buyers, sellers and media. This year’s event or Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 will be in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, under the theme “Transforming Travel, Transforming Lives”. For further information, please go to:

Last not least, for interested GMS experts, there are two publications not to be missed, namely 1. Experience Mekong: GMS Tourism Marketing Strategy and Action Plan, 2015-2020, published in 2015, and 2. GMS: Tourism Sector Strategy, 2016-2025, published in 2017, both by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Bangkok. For further information, please go to:

Written by : Reinhard Hohler